Moscow and Ljubljana sign a cooperation program
Mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin and the Mayor of Ljubljana Zoran Janković signed a cooperation program between the two cities for 2019-2021. Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia Marjan Sarec, who was in Moscow for an official visit, attended the ceremony.
“The purpose of my visit to Moscow is to maintain good relations, strengthen our mutual dialogue and, of course, search for other possible ways to broaden bilateral cooperation. Russia and Slovenia are friendly countries with good trade and relations. The Russian Federation ranks 10th in the number of visits by Russian tourists to our country. We hope that this visit and the documents that were signed today will strengthen our legal framework for cooperation,” Marjan Sarec said.
According to Dmitry Medvedev, the signed agreement is a complete roadmap. “Based on this document, the relevant departments and organizations will implement interesting projects. Among them is the expansion of the Forum of Slavic Cultures in Ljubljana,” the Prime Minister said.
The Government of Moscow and the Ljubljana City Hall will cooperate in various fields, including such as urban planning and construction, development of urban infrastructure, improvement of urban transport systems, improvement of social services, environmental protection, science and entrepreneurship, education, culture and art, sports and tourism, and social welfare.
“Trade volumes for the first half of this year increased by 36 percent. I hope that this cooperation will increase and expand, because today I am accompanied by representatives of business circles and enterprises that are already on the market in Russia and in the world. They have a very good reputation, very good authority. They work in the field of energy, information technology, as well as in energy efficiency,” Marjan Sarec said.
Plans include school exchanges and contacts between educational institutions, an exchange of experience on integrating IT technologies in education, as well as the exchange of information between research and design organizations. In addition, the capitals will cooperate under the Moscow Longevity program, hold meetings between the national teams of Moscow and Ljubljana in various sports, exchange experience, and train municipal employees of the two cities.
“Our cooperation is also developing in the spheres of culture, education, science, sports and youth policy,” Dmitry Medvedev said.
Days of Ljubljana will be an important event in Moscow. They are scheduled to take place in May 2020.
Bilateral relations between Moscow and Ljubljana are built on the basis of the protocol of friendship and cooperation. The previous cooperation program for three years was also signed by the heads of the two capitals in Moscow on June 9, 2015. The program was successfully implemented, and in the fall of 2016 Moscow Days were held in Ljubljana.
During the visit, the Slovenian delegation took part in the opening of the monument in Victory Park on Poklonnaya Hill. It is dedicated to the Slovenes who died in Russia country during WWI and WWII. A similar monument to the sons of Russia and the Soviet Union who died on Slovenian soil was erected in Ljubljana in July 2016.
“Mr. Medvedev and I will be attending the opening of the monument dedicated to the Slovenes who perished during the First and Second World Wars on Russian soil. It’s located at Poklonnaya Hill in the Victory Park. We’ll open the monument and thereby preserve them in our memory. This is very important to us, since both Russia and Slovenia lost a lot of people to these wars. The world must know about these sacrifices. It is a message that sends a warning: this must never happen again,” Marjan Sarec said.
Dmitry Medvedev noted that relations between Russia and Slovenia are built on trust and have a lot of potential. He expressed hope that the discussion of relevant issues will help strengthen ties between countries and people that are united by a common history.
‘We honor and value this history. This is exactly why, right after our negotiations, we are opening a monument to Slovenes who perished on Russian soil during WWI and WWII at Poklonnaya Hill inside the Victory Park,” he said.
In addition, in November 2017, the World War II International Research Center opened in the Slovenian city of Maribor with the support from the Moscow Government. The center offers a class on Russian history, which is taught in Russian.
Investment and trade
According to data from January 1, 2019, Slovenian investment volumes into the Moscow economy currently amount to $11 million, which means Slovenia ranks 77th among foreign countries. There are a total of 15 enterprises with Slovenian capital registered in the Russian capital, and Slovenia ranks 54th among all foreign countries in this respect.
“Both Russia and Slovenia intend to strengthen cooperation and economic ties. Overall, they are developing. I’ve already said this to my colleagues, and I want to say it again: trade turnover increased again last year, after experiencing a drop due to the negative trends we’re all aware of. In many ways, this is the result of the work done by our colleagues, including the intergovernmental commission. I hope that these trends will continue,” Dmitry Medvedev said.
The volume of bilateral trade between Moscow and Slovenia amounted to $345.3 million. Exports from Moscow accounted for $1.1 million, and imports from Slovenia accounted to $344.2 million of the total volume.
“Of course we want investment volumes to grow as much as possible. We support projects by Slovenian companies that localize the production of medicine, paint, and telecommunications equipment,” Dmitry Medvedev said.
According to official FSB data, 8,500 Slovenes entered Russian through Moscow airports last year.